The spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, said on Saturday that child begging, otherwise known as Almajiri in the north is un-Islamic.
The monarch who is also the President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), disclosed this at a meeting between representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Northern State Governments and the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development on development of girl child in Nigeria.
“We talk about Almajiri in the North, and we keep on seeing it as if it is a religious issue. ‘Almajirinci’ has nothing to do with Islam. It is an issue of poverty and nothing more, and the earlier we all recognized this fact, the better for us,” he said.
In a similar vein, the Sultan also said that there is no excuse to refuse to educate a girl-child in the name of religion.
He said: ”We believe an educated girl is better in bringing up better family and citizenry to the world because we all know the importance of our mothers.
“They trained and brought us up. If you check the lifestyle of an individual, if it’s good, check the family background; and if bad check the family background. The women play that important role of bringing up the society.
“Here in Northern Nigeria, we don’t pay much attention to girl-child education. As we all know an educated woman is more an asset than uneducated one or even educated man, you must be knowledgeable to lead. To rule you must be knowledgeable.
“The girl-child education has become very important especially now that the world is facing social problems, and Nigeria is part of that global village,” the Sultan stressed.
In her remarks, the Country Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Jean Gough described education as the cornerstone of everything, and without education, there cannot be reduction in poverty in any country.
Education, according to him “is the hardest sector to transform. Children in the Northeast have lost two years of education. We know Nigeria is working to achieving the goal of President Muhammadu Buhari in transforming the education sector. We hope this year 2016 will be a year of true change.
“Change can only happen when leaders in Nigeria are in partnership with all second of education and when proper action is taken.”